Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Wii-God's Gift To Our Family

Today I received a fun text from my husband. He was in Dallas for a conference for techy people. He told me before he left that there would be some opportunities to win a Wii. Well, we have been wanting a Wii for a while, but truly couldn't afford that luxury right now. When he told me there would be some given away I told him that I would pray that we would win one. On the way to school in the mornings it is our practice to pray so on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I prayed with the girls and at the end of my prayer I said something like this, "Lord, it would sure be fun to win a Wii. You are good no matter what and we will serve You no matter what. But, we sure would love to win a Wii. David's text today said, "I can't believe it. I won! Isn't God gracious. Luv u," and then just a moment later another one came that said, "OMG! I really won!" I got on the phone and called him and asked him if he was just kidding me and he assured me that he wasn't. Then I said, "do you know what OMG means?" because for one thing I couldn't believe that he was talking "text talk" to me, he just doesn't do that. He said, "oh my goodness?" and I said, well, to us it does, but to the rest of the world it is Oh my God" and then he said, "Well, I thought I should show some excitement and be expressive about this." If you know David you will know how funny that is. He can be sort of an Eeyore about even fun things and just is such a steady eddie about everything so he was trying to be more excited about something that should be exciting. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but what I wanted to tell you is that our good God, who is good no matter what, saw fit in His divine plan to allow us to win a Wii. "My boundary lines are drawn for me in pleasant places." I'm just saying....God is AWESOME all the time and we are humbled and blessed by this gift to our family. Just thought I'd share so that you will remember to ask God for the fun things in life too...He's good no matter what...but just maybe you will see Him work and then receive the desire of your heart just because He loves you so! He does, you know!!!
Celebrating His sweetness,
Jackie Sue

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Picture's Worth Like 10 million Words

I'm still processing the stuff I learned this past weekend. One thing I didn't know was this(and it absolutely blew my mind)God's children are HIS INHERITANCE. We are the thing God considers HIS reward. Isn't that amazing? Just too sweet to comprehend in one sitting, so give that some thought. Another thing I learned is that the inheritance (emotional stuff/patterns) I received from my parents, good and bad, does not have to belong to me if I don't want it to. I can have a garage sale with Jesus and get rid of the stuff I don't want to inherit. I have to forgive my folks, family for passing on unhealthy patterns, I have to identify the specific stuff I don't want, acknowledge it in my life, ask God to help me change what I have already confessed, and seek Him daily in the midst of life remembering those things He wants to change in me. I don't know if that is helpful info or not, but it helps me to get it in writing. So there. :) One pattern in particular was shown to me at the conference and so God and I are dialoguing about that. Maybe there is something in your life that He wants to change that you hadn't realized with Him about it. He is just so sweet. He wants our inheritance to our children(or those in our lives for those single gals) to be the good stuff. I'm all about that...aren't you? I know you are. Have a wonderful day!!! Love, Jackie Sue
p.s. For you caterpillar fans, I have LOTS of new Monarch caterpillars on my milkweeds...IAMSOEXCITED!!! Maybe I will get a chrysalis yet!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

San Antonio

I'm in TEXAS!!! I've never been in Texas before. I've already had mexican food and a slew of margaritas. Ok. I'm kidding about the margaritas. But I did eat a yummy chicken casadilla yesterday with a whole passel of blogging women. My friend,
Kathy(class of 1979, Deland High School Grad, mother of 7, Opelika, Alabama resident...and even more. We met in 7th grade when we tried out together for cheerleading our audition numbers were 21 and 22 and WE BOTH MADE THE SQUAD...Go Green Devils!)and I met in Atlanta and then flew onto San Antonio for the Siesta Fiesta(its a long story). We are staying in a lovely Marriott (where she likes to keep the temperature at a freezing 68 degrees or so)using up David's Marriott points. It is a delightful thing to stay in a nice hotel for free(thank you love, I owe you). We flew out here to attend Beth Moore's Living Proof Live event and man, have we been to church! I can't help it, I just love Beth Moore. She is so funny and so passionate for Jesus. She inspires me.

The Lord met me here and said something brand new to me. Something I have never even thought about before. I'm not going to share that right now though. Maybe at another time. For now I will share the 8 truths that Beth wanted us to take to heart and embrace as our own. The key word was INHERITANCE, which I loved because in my Joshua readings I had just been reading about how the tribes of Israel received their inheritance, but the Levites received God Himself as their inheritance. Seriously, I had just marked that in my Bible the other day. Anyway, she shared that we are "heiresses" and these truths went along with that.

1. I am an heir of God. My life is not left to chance.
2. I am an heir of God. I am inheriting a kingdom.
3. I am an heir of God. He is my portion and I am His.
4. I am an heir of God. The downpayment has been made.
5. I am an heir of God. My boundary lines form a pleasing place.
6. I am an heir of God. The will has been activated.
7. I am an heir of God. I can be secure.
8. I am an heir of God. I have a beautiful inheritance.

I don't do Miss Beth justice, but just wanted to share the main points she shared. I would highly recommend any of her events. God will bless your heart and set you on fire for Him. She is coming to Orlando with the Deeper Still conference next September and I will definitely plan on being there. Want to come? Let me know :)

This evening was the Siesta pajama party. It was fun. Mostly because we met Erin. She was a hoot. She's 24 years old and so way hip. I hate her. She is so not my new bff. I told her I was going to put her in my blog. So here is Erin: Erin is so totally a break dancer. Isn't she the coolest?!

Well, its time to go to bed. I must put on my parka and climb under the covers while Kathy's noise maker(sound machine, she says...whatever!)lulls me to sleep(not). I have been so blessed to be here(thank you Eddie Lopez)and make such fun memories. It has been an absolute blast and one gal, Rachel, told Kathy and I how young and hip we are. Isn't that cool??? That compliment alone would have made my weekend. Not to mention all the great new friends I made(Edub). So, I'm signing off now...I'll be home, Lord willing, tomorrow. (Is Faye ever going away???)
Much love,
Jackie Sue

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chris' Vine or Bust

This is my pipevine now. Isn't that amazing. The caterpillars ate it down to almost nothing which is fine, but I didn't think they were going to survive so I gave about 20 of my precious caterpillars away. I gave them to Val's neighbor, Chris. He has a HUGE pipevine in his backyard and no caterpillars to eat it. So, I put a bunch of my precious little friends in a coolwhip container and moved them into town to start a new life. I'm thinking they miss the country, but food was becoming pretty scarce so the move was a good thing. Sorta like the book of Ruth where Naomi's husband moved the family because there was a famine in the land. Ok, it is nothing like that, but I'm studying that book right now and I just thought of it. Anyhoo, the kids were moved over to their new place and if I could I would gather up all the little chrysalis's' that they are going to make and bring them back home to hatch. I wonder if Chris would mind if I searched his vine to find my little ones? I did lay awake one night and worry that they were going to starve to death on my pitiful vine. When I told David that he told me I needed to get a life. I can't help it, I'm maternal. Here's a picture of the fat caterpillars that are still here. I can only find 2 of the 5 that remained. Maybe the storm blew them away. If these make it I'll be sure to post more photos. I'm sure you were waiting on some news of the little guys already. Glad I could put your mind at ease. Much maternal love, JS

These are the new folks on the block...hope they don't eat caterpillars!
And just for fun some cute photos of the other critters around here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm Feelin' the Love

Lots of fun stuff going on around here. Well, not the hurricane. Oh, I mean tropical storm. Isn't it interesting how school was cancelled and all and then hardly even any rain yet. Oh well, at least we have had a restful day at home.

I wanted to tell a funny story about Jungo and Hiyato(the Daly's student). Both Japanese students spent Sunday with us and we took them out for lunch for Chinese food (they love Chinese food). It was all 7 of us and the two of them. It was a crowd and they looked around the table and just laughed at all of us. After lunch we headed home and they decided they wanted to help Matt mow the lawn. They put some of Matt's shorts and lawn mowing shoes on and went outside. I went out to video them playing some basketball and teased them about wearing their shorts so low. In response to my teasing they pulled the shorts up really high like old men. It was so funny. Then they started helping Matt mow. They were running around and videoing eachother and laughing as they mowed the lawn. They have now officially experienced America, ha ha. It was really really hot, but they had a lot of fun. Something completely captivating about these guys. It has been such a blessing to our family to get to know them. Jungo says he is coming back next year. We all hope so. On the way home the other night he was counting how many days he has left here. He said he is not ready to go home. I'm so glad he has had a good time and I hope that he really will come back to visit us. We will miss him.

Ok, here's where it gets mushy...a letter to my Davie girl about her first day of school.

August, 19, 2008
Dearest Davie Doo, my little Shorty Patootie,
It was your first day of school yesterday. Although you couldn't tell it, I was full of mixed emotions. I was nervous and excited for you. As is our general habit, we prayed in the car on the way. You asked Jesus to help you not to talk babytalk and to help you be obedient and kind. You were thankful and excited to be going to school. When we got to school Mrs. Chesmore was so kind and posed for a picture with you and then took one of us together. When it was time for me to leave you confidently said goodbye to me without hesitation. You were a girl ready for school and all that it has to offer. I left and walked toward my car close to tears, but telling myself to trust God and offered another quick prayer on your behalf. I chose to look for the good in the situation and trust that your daddy and I had sought God's will in this and so the tears remained unshed. I had several things to do so I went about my business for the morning.
I pulled into the carpool line at 12:57 and waited for the line to move. As I pulled close to the pickup place I spotted you in your red shirt waiting in line up against the wall. Almost at the same moment you spotted me and your face lit up. It was precious. You began waving to me and telling all the kids around you that there was your mommy. You were absolutely delighted to see me. I want to save that moment and savor it. You delight in me as your mommy. You know what, I delight in you as my daughter! You are my dream come true. God's good gift to a woman who wanted to adopt for a very long time and your precious self was more than I knew to hope for. You are God's "beloved grace" (the meaning of your name) and a reminder to believe Him for the impossible. As you climbed in the car you couldn't wait to tell me all about your day and I couldn't wait to hear it. You made fun things and then you said in all enthusiam, "oh, there's my best friend!" and I said, "really, what's her name?" And you quickly answered, "I don't remember." to which Catherine and I laughed. You did have a great day and your teacher said you did just wonderfully as she saw me in the line. I am so proud of you and I know you will do well. You love to please and you just have a grateful heart so every little thing is fun to you. I'm so glad you are my girl, Davie Anne, and I love you with all my heart. Thanks for loving me so freely and may our love get us through the years ahead. Regardless, I want to remember your precious face the moment you saw me and the delight you experienced in me as your mom for a long long time. I think it is etched in my with your red shirt and red bow and huge big smile and your jumping up and down in excitement "My mommy's here! My mommy's here!" That is a moment I wouldn't want to have missed. Not for anything.
I love you, Momma
p.s.remember, you're my girl for good.

As I write I am reminded again how Davie's enthusiasm rewards my heart like my enthusiasm warms my Heavenly Father's heart when I show the same adoration to Him. I want to love Him like that I just can't wait to be with Him. I want to shout to all who will listen "That's my Daddy! That's my Daddy!" Do you mind if I end this post by telling you that "That's my Daddy and I am so thankful that He rescued this child from a hopeless life and made me His very own!"? I hope not, cause I just can't hold it back. Have a great night and stay out of, js

Monday, August 18, 2008

It Takes Faith

I was telling my good friend this morning, let's call her "Louise", that it takes faith to follow God's call on your life as a mom no matter what. To home educate one's children is a walk of faith. To send one's precious little one to school and to entrust them into someone else's care takes faith. This year our walk of faith includes sending our precious Davie to school. Granted this is not my first time doing this, but for some reason I feel like a first time mom again with Davie. It is a journey that calls me to trust God to take care of Davie while she is somewhere other than with me. Out from under my very protective care. I would keep her safe always if I could. Every mother I know would, but God has called us all to walk a journey of faith and release our children into His care. Whatever that calling looks like it takes faith and we took a GIANT step this morning. Here are some photos for your enjoyment :o) Blessings. Jackie Sue

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Song of Hope

Jungo and Matt came home from the retreat yesterday. Just a note of one sweet thing. On the way home from the church Matt asked Jungo what was his favorite song of the week and Jungo said "All in All" and then began to sing it. EVERY WORD. In his sweet Japanese accent he sang with accuracy "You are my strength when I am weak...Jesus, lamb of God. Worthy is Your name. Jesus, precious lamb of God, worthy is Your name." and then he said, "yes, great song. I like very much." Now, I don't have any idea if he really understands what he was saying/confessing when he was singing, but it was the truth and the prayer of my heart is that the seed of truth that was planted this week would take root in his heart. Isn't this exciting??? Floats my boat, I tell ya, it does. Thanks for praying for Jungo. He leaves on Saturday and we have church tomorrow and youth group on Wednesday, so don't stop. Love you, Jackie Sue

Monday, August 11, 2008

Goings On Around Here

So, how's your mom? We are all surviving over here. My last post made for some interesting discussions here at home and some thoughtful contemplation on my part.

Jungo has been here for a week and he is just delightful. He is pretty "ghetto" with his low riding pants and his long hair, but just a precious personality. This is a 21yr old guy who lives alone in an apartment coming to stay with a family of 7. Not an easy transition if you ask me, but he has done super. He loves the girls and plays cards with Davie. I think I could adopt a 21 year old :) Right now he and Matt are on the Mission to Japan beach retreat for the next 4 nights. I'm praying for his salvation. Won't you join me? His father is Buddhist and his mother is Christian, but he says he has no religion. In spite of his limited English we have had some serious talks and many laughs. I know that we did the right thing by having him. I think a lot of the difficulty in preparing for his coming had to do with the enemy dividing us and trying to make us doubt our decision to have Jungo come stay with us. I will be glad when I can catch the enemy before he catches me...I am a slow learner. I will post pictures of our times together soon.

Davie starts school in one week. Did you hear me, ONE WEEK??? Ahhh. We went and bought her school supplies today. It was fun. I would be less than honest if I didn't admit that I am afraid for her. School can be great...or it can be really hard. I wonder how she will do. David and I are in agreement that she should go, but still I am apprehensive. I am looking so forward to having Ellie at home with me and spending time with her just the two of us, but I will be watching Davie closely to make sure that things are going well with her. Life is full of risks, isn't it?

Well, not much else to write about except that I LOVE THE OLYMPICS! Wasn't China's opening ceremony phenomenal??? I haven't even seen the whole thing yet, but what I've seen was superb. I was so proud. I am hoping to be able to get it on dvd for my little girls.

I did want to share about my time on the porch yesterday morning. It was a sweet time of reflection and worship. Somehow I was ready for church early (I still don't know how that happened)and had time to go on the porch and get quiet with God. I've been thinking about the Israelites and how God had promised them the "promise land", but how hard they had to work to claim what was already theirs and then how hard they had to fight to keep it. As I study the book of Joshua I am struck by their journey and how it compares to ours. Our Promised land is Heaven and eternity with God, but what a journey to there, with an enemy who wants us to doubt our promise land everyday. As I meditated yesterday about Jungo and how attached we have all become to him and how I doubt we will ever see him again when he leaves and then how I'd like to see him in Heaven...all these thoughts led me to try to describe who God is if I could explain Him to Jungo and so I wrote this psalm yesterday while sitting on the porch.

My God

Gracious is my God and sweet beyond compare.
Mighty is my God; He will not be mocked.
Tender is my God like a mother with a nursing babe.
Solid is my God; a sure foundation to build upon.
Mysterious is my God who's ways are not my own.
Compassionate is my God; a father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow.
Creative is my God just look at the butterflies' wings.
Endless is my God as the ocean's horizon
Faithful is my God; never forgetting all His promises.
Comforting is my God; He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those with crushed spirits.
I can't imagine my life without Him.
My God.

Ya'll have a great day and know that you are loved.
Jackie Sue

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Perfect Storm

Tomorrow we have a Japanese student coming to our home to stay for a couple of weeks. When I committed to this I believed it is what God was calling our family to. To be reach out to those that need a place to offer to share Christ's allow our family to experience another culture...all good things for a believer. All things that help our self-focused lives to take a break from self and be accommodating and selfless for the cause of another. To take on the burden of another and to look out for their well being at great cost (i'm not saying this is a huge thing, just gas, food, time, etc) to oneself..."hesed" kind of love. I'm learning about that in my study of Ruth (yay small group you all) and find that this might qualify as that type of living.Well...this is hard stuff.

It doesn't sound hard when you just say it...I mean having one extra guy at my home. No big deal. It doesn't play out that way though. I believe in a CLEAN house when someone comes over. I mean, if you dropped by without calling(please don't)you would see that we are pretty messy people. You would not find a home with "a place for everything and everything in its place" kind of home. Add to that fact, 3 teenagers (yes, Catherine qualifies, though not by her age...just her behavior) who don't enjoy fact it seems to matter very very little to them at all and 2 little ones who definitely don't care about clean(although Ellie does like things in their proper place) and you have just designed the perfect storm.

A guest is coming and we don't enjoy what it takes to get things ready. Oh my my my. When I say I want the house clean I mean I want it took look as though no one lives here. I want everything just right. The carpet people are coming tomorrow...that's how clean I mean. No one likes me around here when I want a clean house. I try so hard not to bug my big kids. They all(teens in general)seem to keep messy rooms, but then when I want them to actually clean them it creates all kinds of havoc. So, I'm looking for I just not ask my kids to clean their rooms? Do I ask them to clean and then allow for what they "call" clean to satisfy? Do I not invite people over or open my home b/c it causes the people who live here stress? What I want is for the team to rally. I want to say "we are having company" and for the troops to line up and say..."Yes ma'am. We know just what to do." Instead I get argument and lack of respect and instead of doing what is required on their own I must use every bit of power I have and threats and anger to rally the troops who don't want to follow me anywhere anytime. I want my kids to know me well enough and love me enough to do what it takes for my home to be ready even though it is not how they would do it. I want them to care about this because I care about it. I guess I want them to love me enough to lay themselves aside for a day. It feels so personal.

Honestly, I am at a loss. Please don't tell me to chill out this stage I am just not fact my "chilling" out seems to be the culprit for this frenzy now...I'm not saying that I don't need to change...I am saying that I can't NOT care about how clean my house is...I can't. It is not in me to turn a blind eye when I know people are coming over...I'm sure I need more counseling for this...even though I wonder, how would I approach this..."is not wanting a dirty house normal?"

Well, I'm sure this is more of me than you would want to know....but I'm here in the midst of this storm right at the moment and I thought some of my friends may have some wisdom...or maybe I just needed to vent my issue. I definitely need your prayers. I need to find God in the midst of this. For me, this is the big stuff. When I am here in this spot I would like to resign from my job and I am betting my troops would gladly take my resignation. Unfortunately for all involved that is not an option. In my little corner of the world is this sense of failure and discouragement.

Still life must go on...our precious student comes tomorrow needing to see Jesus in this home....needing to see love and honor for others and somehow by God's providence be drawn to Himself. He allows us to be a part of this process and I don't want to fail Him. For me, cleaning my home and having a clean home for my guests is meant to communicate love I think. To make our student comfortable and special and to meet their needs is my goal. To have him feel like we prepared for his coming.

Lord Jesus, take this desire of my heart and do what only You can. Reveal Yourself to Jungo and allow us to be a part of it. Calm my heart and help us to lay aside our comforts for his. To take on his burdens and make them our own that he may feel Your care for Him through our hands. Thank You blessed Jesus for the opportunity to meet another that You have created and to serve him as if he were You. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Cleanse my heart of all unforgiveness and wrong expectations of those You have placed in my home to love and serve too. This "hesed" goes for them too and maybe I have placed Jungo in front of them. I honestly don't know. I am lost and I need You to shine Your light on the sin in me. Thank you for the body who will lift me up at this time and most of all for Your unfailing love for this child who is but dust. Oh how thankful I am for Your grace. I am humbled. Yours, JS

P.S.The one thought I believe God has laid on my heart is that I did not ask the "team" if they wanted to do this to begin with. I basically ordered them that this was what we were going to do....To that I reply in humility, Lord, does the team vote on things or is one the captain? How do I lead without making some decisions? I am still confused.

P.P.S.As Catherine continues for the 432nd hour to clean her room I notice that I hear Josh Groban powerfully coming from her room. I must say that opera and that brings a smile to my face.

Enough time has passed and as I've meditated on this situation I think that what I want is a team at home. I want my kids, the big ones of course, to allow the things that are important to me to be important to them. I realize that a home that is lived in will never be perfect and I surely don't have the energy to even try to make it so. I just want to receive some joint effort from the team when I need them. I have to say that they did get things done and as I type this the carpet guy is here cleaning my carpets that were long overdue for cleaning so I'm feeling ok. I just want the relationship with my big kids to go both ways where things that matter to them matter to me BECAUSE they matter to them and things that matter to me matter to them BECAUSE they matter to me. It really isn't about the house, although when Catherine and others read this it must have sounded that way because Catherine said "it sounds like you want a perfect house and that my kids are not helping". While that is how my frustration was manifested, the real issue is the offense I feel when my kids don't seem to care about something for me. Still don't know if that's healthy, just know that that is the real deal. Thanks for caring. Jackie Sue